A great Buster Keaton silent movie. In 1862, after spies steal his locomotive, "The General", he wages a one-man battle to recover it.
The copies previously uploaded here were either incomplete or too blurry. I hope that this copy will be more satisfactory.
January 19, 2020 Subject:
Probably the best of Buster Keaton’s works.The story is simple and direct.The cinematography is outstanding and of course the scene where the locomotive falls off the bridge is simply in the realm of legend.Watch it and be amazed.Hollywood could not even begin to create a masterpiece such as this.
August 13, 2011 Subject:
I, like all of you, love this movie. There is just one thing I want to point out. The cinepak file (.avi) is actually only 78 minutes. I've been trying to figure out where that missing 30 minutes went to and I think the .avi it's simply running about 30% faster then the original which is 104 minutes. (everything moves faster)
There are also some color overlays on the .avi that are not on the 104 minute versions, but this is NOT a clone of the other sepia toned copy on here, this one is much cleaner looking.
I'm confused as to how this happened, but I think it would be a good idea if the 74 minute .avi got it's own listing as it's actually quite fun to watch.
Update! It seems the issue has been resolved, thanks archive.
October 19, 2010 Subject:
Outstanding movie making for its time!
The quality of the cinematography and the editing was outstanding, for the time. Keaton was a genius in the art of storytelling.
Kudos to whoever cleaned up this old film. Whoever you are, you did an outstanding job.
I'm currently working on a long-term editing project to provide a sound track to this Public Domain film, starting with Foley and ambient sounds. Adding audible dialog will be problematic, as the insertion of the written dialog graphics makes exact lip-syncing impossible, but I hope to find a creative way around it.
May 30, 2010 Subject:
Love, trains, and civil war
The General is one of the greatest films ever made.
There's no use trying to avoid exaggeration on this point.
The story is simple: A railway engineer caught up in the civil war makes good, and saves his girl from the enemy.
The character is one of the pillars of the film: Buster Keaton is a shy and timid creature, ill at ease in company for example when he accompies his loved one home. The second love of his life is the locomotive he drives. And as a train driver, he is disqualified from active service - And stays behind, accused unjustly of cowardice, as the other men volunteer, and head off to the front in the instroductory sequences.
The film shows masterful comic timing all revolving around essentially one man on a train. And witohut giving the plot away, there are subsequent amazingly choreographed sequences involving trains, bridges, pitched battles, and rescues in dark stormy nights.
It's the hilarious, and poignant, and very human take the civil war, love and battle, and trains, that makes this one of the greatest films of all time.
August 22, 2009 Subject:
a better version, but literally silent
This version of the film is indeed complete & clearer (unlike this one here: http://www.archive.org/details/TheGeneral) but then, it lacks music score (I downloaded the ogg file). So you should choose between this literaly silent but better version and the one that starts with the enlistment scene, not at the beginning of the movie, and is heavily sepia-tinted and oversaturated. I am sure, there are other versions around. The one I have on DVD is much clearer but with a very gloomy score which doesn't go well with the already gloomy film.
As for the film itself, it is very clever and high quality, but it is not a typical Buster slapstick, rather an adventure/action film with some comedy, and a thorough plot. It is captivating, thrilling, full of action, but rather gloomy (some people actually consider it boring!). I know it is often considered the best film produced by Buster, but I enjoy "Steamboat Bill Jr", "The Navigator", and "The Cameraman" a bit more. I really like the way Buster looks in "The General" though, with that period costume and hair style :)
February 16, 2009 Subject:
Rather nice transfer
MPEG4 is proper aspect ratio.
September 5, 2008 Subject:
out of proportion